This episode had everything that had me considering quitting the fandom over the Christmas break: gore favoured over plot, writing full of holes, and a bland, uninteresting unsub. Why have the writers allowed this to go on so long? Small pockets of dialogue within the episode tell me they have the ability, but not the will to see it through.
I very much enjoyed last week's music choice - I have been thinking for a while that CM needs to put more effort into this aspect. It takes away from the power of the episode when I can pinpoint which other episodes used the same tracks and where - I find it very distracting. This week was just more of the same.
This episode was reminiscent in plot of Season 1's "Plain Sight" and "Blood Hungry". In "Plain Sight" we saw the unsub position his deceased victims in such a way that they were facing him - the telephone serviceman climbing the poles. In "Blood Hungry" the team spoke of how exceedingly rare any form of cannibalism is - including drinking blood - and how out of his mind the unsub would have to be to do it. This episode held none of the factors which made those episodes good, and the team jumping to "vampirism" was such a leap from the evidence of an organised killer that I almost laughed.
Where is the variety? Week after week we are asked to sit through the same unsub kill the same victims again and again. They're always sadistic, played by poor actors who are more there for looks and the "popular actor" byline than for any actual substance. The unsub is always revealed too early. They always have an unsuspecting friend who becomes a victim. This is supposed to shock us - how can he hurt his friend? But after seeing it time and again I only feel one thing - boredom as my predictions come to pass.
Major props to Kirsten Vangsness. Less attentive viewers may not notice the subtle English influence leaking into her dialogue - not only with her use of the word "mobile" - which not only is an English term, but was also pronounced with a strangled English-American accent that was clearly not quite used to the word on her tongue - but also her pronunciation of the word "all", somewhere early on. This delivery was also English influenced, and I just love the work she has put in to give that little extra spice to her character - and is she ever good at it!
I have recently myself had a friend who has suffered a loss, and Reid was displaying many of the danger signs of slipping from grief into major depression. The team, professional profilers, did not do enough to investigate his behaviour. Were my friend to be refusing visitors, sitting alone in a dark room, failing to eat (as evidenced by the hampers left outside) or failing to take care of her/himself (as evidenced in his dishevelled, unshaven appearance later in the episode), I would have sought out professional help immediately. It was not safe for the team to leave him like they did with the evidence with which they were presented, especially with Reid's family history and history of drug use. He could barely summon the energy to bang on the door when Garcia and JJ were rightly worried - a clear, even screaming, warning sign. The team should have recognised this, and I'm angry with the writer for not realising this.
The writers also seem to have forgotten that Reid was shot in the arm last episode. Maybe this episode is a couple of months later, but when he was shot in the leg there was far more reference to the injury... I am well aware that this was only due to Gubler's knee injury, but I would have liked to see some bandages to prove that they actually WATCHED last week.
The unsub was said to have Christmas disease, a type of haemophilia. When Garcia brought up a list of haemophiliacs living in the San Francisco area, at least two and possibly three (one was named Shannon) of the list of 15 were female. This was inaccurate, as haemophilia is a disorder of the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, meaning that if one is damaged by haemophilia, they have a backup and will not get the worst form of the disease. Men have only one X chromosome, meaning haemophilia overwhelmingly affects males (though still rarely - only 1 in 25,000). It's unlikely any female would have Christmas disease, and it is a statistical impossibility that three females with it would live in one area.
This episode was filled with laziness and poor writing. I'm growing highly sick of watching the same episode again and again. The writers better come up with another "Zugzwang" pretty fast or I may find myself leaving.
I give it 4/10, and it only scored so high because of Vangsness's dedication to her character and excellent oratorical acting.